Essential Packing List For Visiting The Galapagos Islands With Kids – New For 2024

Embarking on a family adventure to the Galapagos Islands is a dream come true for many, offering a unique blend of education and exploration in one of the most pristine ecosystems on Earth. Preparing for such a journey, especially with kids in tow, requires thoughtful planning to ensure everyone has a comfortable and enriching experience. Our “Essential Packing List for Visiting the Galapagos Islands with Kids” is your go-to guide, drawn from our experiences of visiting the islands and curated to cover everything from the essentials to those easily forgotten items, making your family’s island adventure as seamless as it is memorable.

Let’s dive into the must-haves for your Galapagos getaway!

The essential packing list for isiting the Galapagos Islands with kids. Complete with Georgia and Eva lying stretched out on the floor in the middle of all our equipment.
Just before we left the UK for 18 months – packed and ready for anything!

The Essential Packing List For Visiting The Galapagos Islands With Kids

Lightweight, Breathable Clothing

Lightweight and breathable clothing helps keep everyone comfortable during warm days and is a great UV barrier. It is worth bringing at least one long-sleeved top to protect the arms.

Also, we found that lightweight clothes dry quickly and are especially useful for water activities or unexpected rain.

Planning a family vacation to Santa Cruz, Galapagos? Don’t miss our complete guide to making the most of this extraordinary island. Whether it’s wildlife encounters, stunning beaches, or adventure activities you’re after, our guide has it all covered.

Discovering Santa Cruz Galapagos With Kids

Sun Protection

The Galapagos is not far from the equator, and the sun can be intense. Bring wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses, and high-SPF sunscreen.

Adrian and Georgia sat on the back of a boat on the sea wearing life jackets, sun glasses and hats.
We ended up in the sun for two hours on our ferry crossing – good job we had some cover with us!

Long Sleeve “Rashies”

We were given our “rashies” by our Australian family, and they have been invaluable. Australians take sun protection very seriously, and having a UV resistant layer on in the water works wonders when snorkelling or playing in the sea. As parents, it really takes some worry away from how much sun the kids are getting.

Georgia and Eva sat on steps in their snorkelling gear with their long sleeve rashies. A marine iguana is lurking in the background.
Georgia and Eva being photo bombed by an Iguana!

Sturdy Walking Shoes

While flip-flops are fine for the beach and around town, exploring the rugged terrain of the Galapagos Islands requires sturdy walking shoes. The volcanic rock can be exceptionally sharp in places, and opened-toed sandals will leave feet exposed to some nasty cuts.

Georgia and Eva walking away down a long straight, paved path towards the sea with trees on either side.
One of the better paths on Santa Cruz.

Water Shoes

Again, the Galapagos Island has some rocky beaches that necessitate water shoes to protect feet during water activities or while exploring shallow coastal areas. We took their walking sandals, which are great for the sea as well as around town.

Reusable Water Bottles

Ensuring your kids stay hydrated is crucial while travelling (see our guide on recognising heatstroke signs), and this is difficult in the Galapagos as tap water isn’t safe to drink. Also, the Ecuadorian government has banned single-use plastics, so you can’t buy small bottles of drinking water.

Fortunately, most hotels and apartments offer free drinking water so you can replenish your own reusable bottles. This eco-friendly approach is great for the environment and saves you money.

When getting ready to visit the island, remember to pack adequate-sized water bottles for each family member to stay hydrated throughout your adventure!

Snorkeling Gear

If you plan to explore the underwater world, consider bringing your own snorkelling gear. While rentals are available, they are not always great quality, and having your own ensures a perfect fit and comfort.

Adrian and Eva swimming in Tortuga Bay complete with rashies. All part of the essential packing list for visiting the Galapagos Islands with kids.
This was Eva’s first time snorkling in open water.

A GoPro

Our GoPro paid for itself about ten times over on the trip! We captured incredible footage while on the beach and snorkelling like this:

And when diving like this:

If you are planning to dive, then don’t forget the protective casing that lets you take it more than 10m deep.

Don’t forget a camera with extra batteries or a charger to capture the unforgettable moments and breathtaking scenery of your trip.


Binoculars are essential for spotting the island’s diverse wildlife from a distance, enhancing your family’s experience and ensuring you don’t miss a thing.

Dry Bags

Protect your phones and other valuables with waterproof bags, especially during boat trips or when visiting beaches.

First Aid Kit

A basic first aid kit, including rehydration salts, is vital for addressing minor injuries or dehydration.

It is also worth adding extra plasters. Due to salt water blisters, sharp rocks and clumsy children, we burnt through our supplies!

Insect Repellent

Keep pesky bugs at bay with insect repellent, particularly important during hikes in lush areas or at dusk.

Huge horseflies on the Galapagos Islands are also attracted to saltwater-soaked humans, so it is always worth having some handy in case they make an appearance.

Eco-friendly Toiletries

Minimize your environmental footprint by choosing eco-friendly toiletries, helping preserve the pristine conditions of the islands.

Reef-friendly sunscreen is also really important if you plan to spend time in the sea.

Light Rain Jackets

Unexpected showers are common, so light rain jackets or ponchos will keep your family dry without adding much weight to your luggage.

They are also great for slightly rough ferry crossings and boat trips.

Educational Materials

We try to educate our children through astonishment, and the Galapagos is perfect for this! Bringing educational materials about the local wildlife and ecosystems can make the trip more engaging and informative for kids, turning experiences into learning opportunities.

A happy Georgia showing off her 'ocho knot' tying skills with a diagram of the knot in the background.
Every day is a school day!

Have We Missed Anything From Our Packing List For Visiting The Galapagos Islands With Kids?

We hope you find the above list useful. We had an incredible visit to the Galapagos Islands, and we hope you do too.

If you think we have missed anything, or anything here needs updating, then please let us know in the comments.

Safe travels, and may your family’s Galapagos adventure be as enriching as it is exciting!

The Spencer Family

This post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission at no cost to you. Thanks.

About the authors

Our lives have been intertwined with a passion for exploration and a shared love for travel. Our adventures began long before we met, as we individually embarked on daring expeditions across the globe. Our paths finally converged, and we soon realized that our adventures were much more meaningful when shared!

After a brief hiatus to start a family, we eagerly embarked on a new chapter of our travel saga. Determined to instil in Georgia and Eva the values of discovery and open-mindedness, our goal is to embark on exciting escapades and explore breathtaking landscapes, bustling cities, and remote corners of the world. From hiking through mist-laden forests to snorkelling in turquoise seas, every adventure is an opportunity to create lasting memories as a family.

We hate intrusive adverts as much as you do, so we keep our site ad-free. If you enjoy the blog or have found something helpful, you can say "thanks" by buying us a coffee! Just click the button below.

Leave a comment